By John Fairley
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Extra info for Arthur C. Clarke's chronicles of the strange and mysterious
But read on, starting with this delightful letter from Dr Dalrymple, which takes me instantly back to Saunders of the River: Dear Professor Clarke, We have been watching with great keenness your TV programme The Mysterious World, and I feel that the following might be of interest to you: In 1935, I was Medical Officer on the River Gambia in West Africa. One night, I was awakened by much noise, by the locals. The next morning, I discovered the excitement had been caused by the appearance of what they called the 'NIKENANKA'.
However, Agnagna was certain enough of his sighting. 'The animal we saw was mokele-mbembe. It was quite alive and it is known to many of the inhabitants of the Likouala. I saw the animal. ' The news from Agnagna triggered a mini 'scramble for Africa', as different expeditions were mounted to try to be the first with definitive pictures and evidence. There were even accusations of 'dirty tricks', as it was alleged that the Congolese government was being lobbied to refuse visas to some and grant them to others.
It had frightened his dogs and he had not dared to stay. Another Tajik had told the officers of an encounter five years earlier with 'a giant hairy man, very broad in the shoulders, with the face like that of an ape'. The Forest Service takes these reports seriously enough to prohibit its employees from spending the night alone in the mountains, for fear of these wildmen. Bayanov had no personal encounter with wildmen, but he concluded his 1982 expedition report by saying: The abundant signs I witnessed of local fauna, particularly omnivores such as bears and wild pigs, indicate enough food resources for the presumably omnivorous hominoids the year round.